THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
As odd as this statement is going to sound, our major focus should be on honoring the Father rather than focusing on the Son. I didn't say to forget Jesus. It's just that everyone looks to Jesus for salvation and thinks they can ignore the commands and will of the Father. The Father and the Son work together for our salvation. By Jesus' own statement above, if you don't respect that, you can forget eternal life.
Now, just calm down. I knew it would sound odd for a Christian to claim this. However, when you go to church, you hear a sermon that most likely includes comments on the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins, His love for us, how we should do as He does, ask Him for forgiveness when we sin, and how we should praise Him. While all these are true statements, they take much of our attention away from the very place that Jesus told us to put it - His Father. This is not to say that we should ignore Jesus, but that we should remember what Jesus told us was His purpose for coming down to us in the first place - to bring Glory to His Father as He intercedes with the Father on our behalf (John 17:4-6
4I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
6"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word."
They broke the covenant, so...
In Hebrews Chapters 8 and 9, we read about how the Israelites broke the first covenant with God by disobeying His word over and over again. By their actions, they were dishonoring God. So, In Jeremiah He told them of a new covenant that He would establish in the days to come:
31"The days are coming," declares the Lord,
"when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,"
declares the Lord.
33"This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time," declares the Lord.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, 'Know the Lord,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the Lord.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more." (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Now, what did He say?
Notice that He never said that we were already forgiven for every sin we would ever commit, but that He would not remember their forgiven sins. He did, however, mention that he would put His laws in people's minds and hearts. So, if He put the laws in us, wouldn't you think He expects us to obey them? If we ignore those laws, do you still think He will bless us? Not obeying Him is also not giving Him glory.
The "new" covenant...
Most of today's Christians claim to be included in this new covenant because their pastor tells them so. By the time most people get to the last line in verse 34, they start jumping up and down shouting "I'm free!", and forget everything else they just read. Verse 31 starts with a statement by God about who is included in this covenant, but somehow that escapes the notice of most readers.
...joins with the Old Covenant
They seem to think that this Old Testament passage, that clearly says that it is for the Israelites, for some reason doesn't restrict it from applying to the modern day Gentile "Christians". However, when you mention keeping the Sabbath, another Old Testament command, they say that the Bible says that was only given to the Israelites and doesn't apply to Christians. That seems pretty selective to me. They both say the same thing, but how is it that only one of them applies?
Faith is not a buffet where you choose what you want
In reality, in the same way that the Jeremiah passage in the box above does apply to Gentiles because of the "grafting in" process of Romans 11, the other commands of God also apply to us if we want to act like His people who want to stay grafted in. We can be a part of this new covenant, but only if we do not act in the same disobedient way that caused the unfaithful Israelites to be broken off (Romans 11:19-21
19You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
). All we have to do is follow the same instructions God Himself gave them. Seriouly! Not just because Paul says they are, but because Paul knows how God accepts Gentiles if they properly apply for membership. Yeah, I hear you, but read on.
He told us how a long time ago
There is a great article on this at Refiner's Fire. It explains the common sense way to read the Bible as written instead of "spiritualizing" (read this as "twisting" or "softening") something that is written in plain language. The way to become part of this new covenant is exactly the same as the way Gentiles became a part of the first covenant. Again, seriously. It's in one of those places the pastor's don't tell you about because it messes up their "you can do anything you want" sermons. Read Numbers 15:1-21. Stay with it past the first 13 verses, because that's when it gets juicy:
1The Lord said to Moses, 2"Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'After you enter the land I am giving you as a home 3and you present to the Lord food offerings from the herd or the flock, as an aroma pleasing to the Lord - whether burnt offerings or sacrifices, for special vows or freewill offerings or festival offerings - 4then the person who brings an offering shall present to the Lord a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of olive oil. 5With each lamb for the burnt offering or the sacrifice, prepare a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering.
6"'With a ram prepare a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with a third of a hin of olive oil, 7and a third of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Offer it as an aroma pleasing to the Lord.
8"'When you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering or sacrifice, for a special vow or a fellowship offering to the Lord, 9bring with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with half a hin of olive oil, 10and also bring half a hin of wine as a drink offering. This will be a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 11Each bull or ram, each lamb or young goat, is to be prepared in this manner. 12Do this for each one, for as many as you prepare.
13"'Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when they present a food offering as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 14For the generations to come, whenever a foreigner or anyone else living among you presents a food offering as an aroma pleasing to the Lord, they must do exactly as you do. 15The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the Lord: 16The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigner residing among you.'"
I can hear all the shouting from all the way over here. But, what does the word say? Oh, I know your pastor will say, "Yeah, but that's not what it means!", or, "that can't apply to us!" Well, how does that fit with verse 16 above? Or, if you need something from the New Testament, Matthew 7:21
21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
. His will is not different for different people.
You aren't part of the group?
For those who say, "We don't live among the Israelites so that doesn't apply to us!", take a look at the article at Refiner's Fire. In the same way that Christians in South America and those in North America are in the community of Christians, we live in this world together with the Israelites and have the same problems. As explained by Refiner's Fire:
Many don't seem to realize that Jeremiah 31:30-34 is NOT talking about "Gentiles" or "Christians"; it says God is going to make a "new covenant" with the Torah observant Houses of Israel and Judah! So, where are "Christians" in this? As "grafted in to the Olive Tree" Christians are "one in Messiah" (Galatians 3:28)...But that never meant Gentiles would get to change the rules or live under separate rules.
Numbers 15: 13"'Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 14For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you do. 15The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD: 16The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.'"
Please re-read the above in case you missed it: Any Torah-less non-Jew/Hebrew/Israelite who does not yet believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is an "alien"/foreigner. However, if they do wish to accept Him, then they are to do exactly as those who are already belong to Him!
"Living among" means not necessarily physically, but rather, it refers to all those who have accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They MUST be Torah observant, just like the Houses of Israel and Judah were with whom God made His New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:32)!
When you accept Jesus as Savior, you must also accept His Father in order to be "one of His people". When you accept the Father, you give Him glory by your obedience - not in order to get saved, but because you are saved.
And, since "this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come", this ordinance still applies. And for those of you who don't like quotes from the older portion of God's word, remember what Paul said in Galatians 3:28
28There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 28If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
, "we are heirs according to the promise". Neither Jew nor Gentile. That means that we have the same responsibilities as the original heirs. Yes, responsibilities. Doing them will not earn our salvation, but not doing them will dishonor God's command and that will cause us to lose that salvation.
OK, if you really don't want to be included...
Otherwise, you must think that since we live in America, and not with the Israelites, God does not include us as His people, as He still considers the faithful Israelites. The other possibility is that you feel we have "replaced" the Jews as God's people, and God gave us special people new rules (or, more likely in today's churches, NO rules), and are a totally separate people.
You should really think that through, and study the word of God, before you separate yourselves from the Jews. They are the people that were/are the ultimate source of our salvation (John 4:22
You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
). Insert "Gentiles" for the word "Samaritans" in that verse.
There is one way that this passage in Numbers 15 does not apply to the Gentiles. That is if you do not want to be included in the community of Israelites as one of God's people. Remember, in Galatians 3:28
28There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
, Paul included every believer as part of the one group of heirs. Also, notice this would be "for the generations to come", including ours. That would be the "ecclesia" of "called out ones" that belong to the Lord Jesus and honor the Father with their obedience.
Jesus said it
A quote from Matthew
17Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
makes a statement that we rarely hear in conversations about faith. Remember that Jesus said this before the New Testament was written down, collated and sent out to the world. The will of the Father was declared in the only Word that was written at the time - what we call the Old Testament. This included the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings, all of which declare the will of the Father. And, this includes the book of Numbers quoted above.
"But we are forgiven!"
Some believe that this has all changed with Christ's death. It is taught in today's churches that not only have all of our past sins been forgiven when we repent and accept Jesus as Savior (true), but that once we have done that, we cannot lose that blessing regardless of our actions (false). Oh, and we are told that all of the sins we will ever commit are already forgiven (false).
If we are all forgiven...
Well, how does that square with 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
9Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
? If you were a sinner, repented, and no longer live that life, you are saved. However, if you were a sinner, repent, and continue that life, you have a problem (2 Peter 2:20-21
20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
). What do you think it means to be "worse off at the end than they were at the beginning"? That sacred command was issued by God and to turn your back on it means to dishonor God by following your own desires instead of His. If we are to follow Jesus, one of our main goals is to give glory to God, not ignore Him.
We pray to Jesus, but what did He teach us?
You might remember that Jesus taught us how to pray. He didn't say, "Just ask for something and when you get to the end, tack on, 'In Jesus' Name.' and you will get it". No, He said:
9"This, then, is how you should pray:
"'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'
Yes, we are familiar with the verses like John 14:13
13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
. The key to these verses is that the ultimate goal is to glorify the Father, not get that raise or new car we want. In fact James said it best in James 4:3
3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
. Too many do not understand this real goal.
Do you worship God, or the doctrine of your church?
They are usually completely different from each other. Do you worship as your pastor does, or do you worship according to the word of God? You might notice that this prayer is to the Father and starts out by our praying for His glory! How do you pray for the glory of God, and then do things that He forbids as detestable throughout His word? How do you ignore anything He declares holy and then ask Him to bless you? How do you ask for anything in prayer when you sin constantly and do not even feel the need to repent? How do you ask for His will to be done on earth, and then you don't even try to do it yourself?
Our goal is to inform
As you will see on other pages from this site, this is exactly what most people who call themselves Christians are doing every week of the year, all while expecting God to bless them. In order to follow Jesus, as we Christians have signed on to do, we must be giving glory to God as He did. You cannot do that if you tell God by your actions that His will is not important in your life.
Disagree? Find an error? Contact us at email@example.com and give us your view.